What an afternoon for George Russell! The Briton has apparently earned the nickname of Mr. Saturday as he often manages to pull out of his mediocre car impressive performances.
Q3!! The whole team deserved that result today. Now to finish the job tomorrow. 👊 pic.twitter.com/WN7zw5AOTw— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) July 3, 2021
The young British talent managed to get into Q3 for the first time with a Williams. In his words, it was “another level” at the Red Bull Ring to take ninth for the Austrian Grand Prix.
What is even more notable is that he managed to qualify on the mediums in Q2, a decent starting tyre for tomorrow’s race, which will give him a strategic advantage over his immediate rivals on Sunday.
Can he finally get those first points for Williams?
"We're on the right strategy, we've got the flexibility to do one-stop, two-stop. Those guys on the soft should have a really difficult first stint," was Russell's estimation.
“As Saturdays go, we usually do have some good Saturdays, but this was on another level,” he said. “We were debating before the session whether to do that Q2 lap on the softs or on the medium.
“We were worried about getting into Q3 on the softs, because we presumed a lot of guys would be doing the mediums – and obviously with the tyre delta…
“We managed to pull something out on the medium tyre. I’m properly, properly hyped up in the car, probably the most I’ve been in a long time to be honest. That was pretty special.”
“We’re in P9 – but I saw what happened with Sebastian, so we’ll say P8,” he said. “That position is a great place to be in any circumstances, let alone on the medium tyre.
“We have the AlphaTauris ahead of us on the softs, Sebastian and Lance on the softs as well. We’re in a really strong position. Let’s see".
His best ever Williams qualifying result.— Williams Racing (@WilliamsRacing) July 3, 2021
In Q3 for the first time since 2018.
Starting P9 (currently).
George Russell & team 👏 pic.twitter.com/tS5CH2wHVX
Regardless of the FIA decision to penalize Vettel, thus promoting Russell to eighth, it will nonetheless be Williams’ best grid start since Felipe Massa at the 2017 Brazilian Grand Prix.
George Russell is however already fully focused on Sunday’s race: “Qualifying is already behind us, now it’s looking forward to the race. Ultimately, that’s the most important.”
Russell has already come close to scoring points in Formula One – the most notable occurrence was last year’s Sakhir GP, when he replaced Hamilton who tested positive for COVID. However, he was always unlucky enough to never grab them.
After the heartache of last weekend, when he was in contention for seventh or eighth in the race to then suffer a mechanical issue that forced his retirement, Russell will be hoping it’s second time lucky.